We live in San Diego so it was a breeze driving to the port. My friends boarded earlier at 12:30pm and I got in at 4pm. I had my passport and Sign and Sail papers on hand so the check-in was quick.
We all chose to carry our luggages on board. The Elation allows passengers to carry in their luggages and drop them off in their cabins (you can't unpack though till room is officially ready) and proceed to Tiffany's for the buffet lunch. Food stations close during the life boat drill at about 4pm.
We had two cabins right next to each other on the Upper deck. It was the lowest category (Upper/Lower) but very reasonable priced. We have been in these cabins before as we were on the Elation last year also but to a different port. The cabins have lots of storage room and floor space. The bathroom had a supply of "trial size" toothpaste, heartburn med., and disposable razor. The shower area has shampoo and liquid bath soap available in side-by-side dispensers on the shower wall under the shower head.
The bedding was very comfortable and the room temperature can be adjusted with a mere turn of the dial located on the ceiling. There's a safe in the cabinet for valuables. You will need to use a magnetic card (not your room card) to lock and unlock the safe. My friend used her credit card but others have said to use a used giftcard.
The ship is in great shape. Very clean with no visible signs of areas that need repair. The layout of the ship can be confusing but the concierge desk have copies of the ship layout for you to take. They also have decks of cards that they'll give you for the asking. We found the public bathrooms to be clean except that there aren't a lot of stalls so there are lines at times.
We had early dining at the Inspiration and our main steward, Lazlo, from Hungary and his assistant Romano, from the Philippines, did a wonderful job taking care of us. Our water glassess were always full and our appetizers, salads, main course, and desserts were all wonderful. Our favorites were the lobster plate, Beef Wellington, Sweet Sour Shrimp, Short Ribs with zuccini and potatoes (the best!). The chocolate melting cake is a must to try! Our servers were both effecient and were were in at 6pm and out by 7:25ish.
At Tiffany's the food were decent and we all liked the Mongolian Grill located just outside Tiffany's where the pool area is.
I had room service for breakfast a couple of mornings and the food was good and came within the time range I specified. I noticed that there was an extensive food menu ( lunch and dinner) for room service in their Ship Information Book in our cabin. I would have liked to have tried it but found it on the last night. Make sure to tip your room delivery steward though!
The pool water is cold but the hot tub on the adults-only Serenety deck is great for relaxing. We never found it to be crowded and we met nice folks as we joined them in the hot tub. The hot tub just behind the basketball/volleyball court is lukewarm but it was great when the sun was out since it's not under any shade unlike the Serenity hot tub.
We went to the hypnotist show which was funny and clean. Did not go to the Elation dancer/singers shows since we already saw them last year.
We attended a few of the activities and enjoyed the High Tea (sit by the piano), Country line dancing class, and Michael Jackson's Thriller dance class (by the Drama Bar)and enjoyed them all.
All in all, a great trip for a very good price!